MF2006: Monome

The people from the Monome project are out in full force at the Faire. They’ve got five of the 8×8 pads hooked up for people to play with. The first two pictured above actually work together as a 16 step loop system. There’s also one hooked up as a mixer and another as a drum machine. The fifth one is showing pixelated video from an iSight. The box is really well built. The $500 price point has shocked a lot of people, but it’s really unavoidable since they’re only doing a 200 device run. Something I hadn’t realized before is that the buttons are unique to the device, not off the shelf parts. The button is really a rubber cap that sits over the LED and has a conductive ring at the base. I hope they post a schematic for their 8×8 matrix controller so that anyone could build one. Here are a few more pictures: one, two, three.


  1. Metalations says:

    $45 and you get an extra 17 extra switches.

    and DIY rejoice….

    they even sell encoder chips separately

  2. nab says:

    what kind of laptop is he using to control the device? Its running the Mac OS but it don’t look like a Apple laptop.

  3. scoyle17 says:

    it’s a powerbook g4

  4. andy says:

    its a bloody ibook, theyve been around long enough

  5. Mike marino says:

    Is it just me or does that remind you of the game lights out?

    just buy a few of those and rewire them in a fancy enclosure

  6. conor says:

    ibook=white (older ones w/ color)

  7. RusH says:

    >The $500 price point has shocked a lot of
    >people, but it’s really unavoidable since they
    >’re only doing a 200 device run.

    lol NO! $500 is a bloody ripoff, material costs them ~$100, the rest is profit

  8. RusH says:

    >The $500 price point has shocked a lot of
    >people, but it’s really unavoidable since they
    >’re only doing a 200 device run.

    lol NO! $500 is a bloody ripoff, material costs them ~$100, the rest is profit

  9. the antique says:

    This looks nifty, but I definitely can’t afford that.

  10. SOI Sentinel says:

    Profit? If those are really custom buttons and the case a custom plastic mold (is it plastic?) I doubt their numbers are far off. 12,800 buttons is a _REALLY_ short run for injection molding, with die costs in the thousands usually even for small parts. A custom contact memmbrane isn’t so great cost wise, either. Now, toss in the custom costs of a case of only 200 per die, and I wouldn’t doubt at the very least 60% of the costs for these are tied up in dies that may never be used again.

  11. jeremy says:

    It uses this chip ->
    I haven’t used em, but if someone has the time and knowledge of SPI it shouldn’t be too difficult to get the hardware side done. (I have the knowledge but not the time :P)

  12. boo! says:

    Light-out handheld game with USB, yep, that’s what it looks like.

  13. trebuchet03 says:

    a bit off topic… but is that a pineapple in the background? Just seems out of place :P

  14. Linermonkey says:

    To #13:

    1. 200 custom boxes stuffed with electronics
    2. add a pineapple
    3. ????
    4. profit!!!

  15. Egg says:

    We could do with that at work (i’m a sound engineer). It sounds mightily impressive.

  16. -rice- says:

    And uh, what could one do with this?

  17. scoyle17 says:

    It’s an iBook in the photo above but in the photo on the page itself it’s a powerbook g4 too, I thought it was that he was talking about

  18. RusH says:

    >And uh, what could one do with this?

    not much, press buttons and look at lights under them :]
    This is basically a 16×16 USB keypad with backlight (smart one), not worth >$100, not to even mention $500

  19. newswede says:

    As for the laptops, in the pic above it’s an iBook. In the linkes picture a Titanium PowerBook G4 (TiBook) is shown.

  20. craig says:

    To #18….

    If you aren’t a musician you probably would find it useless. If you use Ableton Live, there is a lot of things you can do with it. Not sure if you know what you’re talking about. Here’s a video for the doubters.

  21. karl says:

    you’ve mentioned it: it’s a lighting keyboard sending midi-data on an usb connection. simple one. But the most interesting part (since it’s such an easy piece of tech) is: has anyone a ikea-like description to do a rebuild??? And is it possible to make a rebuild responsing on the same software here: ?

    I’m far from any knowledge on hardware stuff but so eager to do a rebuild

  22. froog says:

    If you want to try to DIY this, get the cheapest possible switch interface that has 100+ inputs – a keyboard controller. Find any old keyboard and rip it apart, then simply solder your switches directly to the circuit. This will cost $0 to $8 (for a cheap new keyboard). Repeat settings, etc can be controlled in software. As a bonus, it also has 3 outputs (Scroll lock, key lock and num lock). As for the leds, 35 line output led drivers can be had for around US$2.80 each. One of these with line scanning can easily drive an 8×8 matrix (in fact one can drive up to a 16×16 matrix). Do a search for M5451.

  23. wisefire says:

    actually a keyboard doesnt work as it locks up after say 6 keypresses at the same time.. you want to be able to play with the full 10 fingers.. but at we are working on a monome clone.. however its completely diy.. also if you want something a bit cheaper.. you can go for the c64 controller we are developing.. also completely diy.. check it out..

  24. julien says:

    here, my rgb monome clone project based on the arduino board:

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